Building strong, long-lasting relationships with customers is the mainstay for growing a B2B eCommerce operation. The strategies you devise for your business, should revolve around building such relationships.
B2B is not just about automation and having the latest technologies at your disposal. It’s now a game of maintaining customer relationships and addressing their concern. Coupled with technology, these strategies ensure recurring business prospects.
As a B2B business owner, you would undoubtedly want to grow your eCommerce business. But, how to go about it?
Well, here are five strategies you can use to grow your B2B eCommerce business.
Utilizing Technology While Maintaining the Human Element
The B2C shopping cart is pretty straightforward. You just have to place an “Add to Cart” and focus on getting customers through the funnel towards the shopping cart.
In comparison, B2B is very different. It’s not just about getting customers to your store; it’s about involving yourself with the customer. Customized pricing, catalogs, the terms of purchase, price points, among other factors, require the business owner or managers to invest their time in the process.
This personal involvement doesn’t mean that you should dedicate your entire time to management. It means handling the nitty-gritties of order management. The rest of it should be automated.
The point is that while automation is a very nice tool to utilize, it shouldn’t replace the human element as a whole. Combining the traditional B2B process with the latest technologies can help you keep your audience engaged while at the same time, be free from repetitive tasks.
For example, your B2B store can automate processes throughout the store enabling customers to explore products and services in a self-service simulation. If they are sure of purchasing a product, they can talk to the customer service representatives thereby enabling human conversations. This enriching process adds a touch of the human element while being technologically savvy.
Customer Interactions First; Profits Later
Besides consumer purchases like cars and home appliances, where there is a representative present to guide you through the products, there isn’t much involvement in B2C eCommerce. If you like a product, you just read the specifications, and click on “Add to Cart” – without ever interacting with a representative.
In B2B, customer interactions are a lot more complex and sequential than B2C. Displaying the right information to purchasing clients, adding value to their research, and giving them a healthy dose of consultation can return significant dividends. An interaction is more important than simply allowing customers to make a transaction. With the former, you’re engaging the audience at a granular level, enabling better relationships as well as a transaction in the process.
For example, in the purchase of construction equipment, several parties are involved in making sure the transaction is to the specifications of the client. While all of the discussions can take place offline, you can utilize online channels to gather all the product-related information to give clients an organized space where they can review the specifications, and make any additions and subtractions necessary.
Maintain the Customer Value Metric Utilize Data to the Maximum
The digital commerce sphere is populated with vast amounts of real-time data collected by companies from a variety of different industries and niches. In B2B, data is just as important. That said, in an industry that’s highly relationship-based, adding value to customers is just as important.
Once you go forwards and simplify the B2B customer experience and add value to your purchases, then you’ll notice a change in the trends of data collected. Without customer satisfaction, your data will always be indecisive at best. This is why you should focus on maintaining value for your customers.
The B2B eCommerce Development Services sector is a good example of adding value first and then utilizing data. Companies that provide such services can add significant value to their clients’ requirements and ask them for a referral. This enables them to gain more customers and additional data.
Differentiation in Information Resources to Customers
B2C order management is certainly no pushover. Customers can access product information, personal information, ordering histories, and more. For its part, B2B takes order management multiple steps further by including provisions for service information, contracts, ordering history, lead times, customer installations, and more.
In many cases, this comprehensive order management functionality helps add value to a customers’ purchase by providing them with a 360 degree look over their product specifications and the progress of their product. This method of personalization is highly effective in improving the overall customer experience.
Allowing customers efficient management with regards to their purchases helps significantly in decision making.
Evolving Offerings to Cater and Engage Previously Untapped Markets
Once a B2C operation is in place, it takes marginal effort to maintain. The self-service functionality, coupled with other automation functionalities, gives customers from all corners of the world to order products. The owner doesn’t have to pay any necessary costs at this point.
In B2B, the operations can go just as smoothly. To avail this benefit, all the business owner has to do is make the overall offering on your store available as either “starter”, or “entry-level” to customers wishing to purchase. This allows customers to self-service their offerings and purchase the product on trial to see whether or it is up to their standards.
This example can be perfectly illustrated with an example of a software provider. Customers purchase software products through incremental units using an online signature. Once customers have a taste of the product, they can expand their product subscription to gain more features and benefits.
B2B eCommerce has always been the major player in the eCommerce industry. Its product/services range is one where the stakes are high and the profits are high.
To gain those profits, you need to be proactive in engaging B2B customers by adding value to their purchases, and maintaining a healthy customer relationship with them. Only with such steps can you hope to gain those profits. Gone are the days when you have to rely on the traditional methods of the trade. You can still use them while utilizing them to add a human touch to your offerings.
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Jibran Ahmed Sheikh is a WordPress Expert at B2BWoo. A WordPress fanatic by day and a reader by night, Camila enjoys exploring the ever-changing world of Technology, Development, and eCommerce.